Limyaael

[info]l-clausewitz.livejournal.com @ 12:43 pm: Point #2 reminds me of something--reconciliation, in fact, was (and often still is) the primary objective of legal/judicial institutions in cultures that lack an impersonal judicial bureaucracy. The Afghan jirga is an important example--its proceedings are meant to reconcile the victim's family with the wrongdoers' family; the verdicts do not always involve punishment or win-lose decisions, and when there is any punishment at all it must be agreed upon by both of the parties involved to make sure that there are no hard feelings. Of course, this highly conciliatory and peaceful legal system exists precisely because the only major alternative is either a blood feud or an open war between the clans. Which is quite funny--if we look at other tribal societies where blood feuds are regarded as a viable means of obtaining justice, there's almost always a highly preferred alternative in the form of conciliatory justice administered through tribal/clan councils.

Even in societies with a strong legal bureaucracy, conciliation may still be considered to be a commendable achievement that trumps the application of ordinary legal procedures. Just look at the way King Solomon reconciled a farmer and a shepherd whose sheeps had strayed into the farmer's land and eaten the crop. Better still, look at the Chinese books of precedents and note how many of the most highly praised precedents involve the judge or the magistrate reinterpreting the law in order to apply a more conciliatory solution.

So yes, reconciliation is a horribly under-utilized legal solution for fantasy settings, but I'd add that it's especially appropriate for settings where the only available alternative is a violent one.

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